NorthernStar Natural Gas, developer of the Bradwood LNG terminal, has hired a contractor for its project that abuses its workers. According to the Western Telegraph article below from the UK, Whessoe is underpaying and mistreating its workers during construction of the Dragon LNG terminal in Wales. They recently fired all workers who had the gall to ask for minimum wage and fair treatment from Whessoe.
NorthernStar proports to have the highest environmental and labor standards, yet its contractor for building the Bradwood LNG terminal is bullying workers it brought from Portugal into Wales. AFL-CIO has backed the Bradwood proposal in Oregon, yet the "good jobs" that would come from the construction of the facility would stand in stark contrast to Whessoe's current treatment of its workers elsewhere.
NW Natural Gas, our local utility, is also backing the NorthernStar proposal and will connect its own Palomar pipeline proposal to the Bradwood LNG terminal, if both are approved.
People from all over the Northwest from all political backgrounds are weighing in against these LNG terminals and pipelines. These recent labor abuses by NorthernStar's chosen contractor give us yet another reason to oppose this massive commitment to foreign, carbon-intensive, California-bound, fossil fuels.
Whessoe will be involved if the Bradwood terminal were actually to reach the construction phase, which is what many community groups and individuals are working to prevent.
From Western Telegraph in the UK:
Workers down tools at Dragon LNG
Workers at Dragon LNG have downed tools this morning, following disputes over pay and working conditions.
Portuguese employees of contractor Atlanco claim that they are paid below minimum wage and are forced to work seven days a week with no paid holiday or sick leave.
They told the Western Telegraph that they do not have copies of their contracts and do not receive proper pay slips, rather an excel spreadsheet.
"We have signed something," said 30-year-old Luis Taeorega from Lisbon. "But we don't have a copy. Everything is in English, you don't know what you are signing."
Workers say that in Portugal they were told by Atlanco that their accommodation , travel to work and to and from Portugal would be covered by the company. Now, they claim, it is being taken out of their pay, with nothing written on their pay slips to say how much has been deducted.
"They told us one thing in Portugal, but in reality everything is the opposite," said Paul Ribero, also from Lisbon.
Atlanco workers say they are paid £4.15 an hour, well below the minimum wage. Workers told the Western Telegraph that their working conditions on the site are becoming unbearable.
They say they have had to buy their own protective clothing, including waterproofs and boots and when the recent foul weather conditions have stopped construction on the site they were told to continue working. They claim they have no paid holidays and work seven days a week.
One worker told the Western Telegraph that his brother had been ill for three days and because of this was sent back to Portugal. They also claim that sick pay is non existent.
"If we say we are not going to work they tell us they have ten or 20 more workers in Portugal to replace us," said Luis.
Despite this the men are determined to stay out until Atlanco provides better conditions and clear pay slips.
"We can stay here at the gate for one week, one month, we just need our receipts. We need to know how much is deducted.
""We just ask for better conditions. We cannot accept this anymore."
A spokesman for Dragon LNG declined to comment, saying that the issue was a matter for Whessoe Oil and Gas ltd, their main contractors.
Whessoe have also declined to comment on the dispute.
1:14pm Monday 21st January 2008
LNG workers "fired" after turning down £4.90 an hour
Portuguese workers, who downed tools at Dragon LNG this morning,say they have all been fired after refusing to accept an increased hourly rate of £4.90 an hour.
Workers took action this morning, complaining of low pay and poor working conditions (see linked article below).
The latest news from the site is that they have been offered a 75 pence an hour rise by employers Atlanco.
"We were given 15 minutes to answer," said a spokesman for the workers, "and told that if the answer is no then we are all fired."
"We have had to return our bus cards. We have asked for tickets back to Portugal but they have refused.
"We are going to try not to accept that pressure. £4.90 is still below the minimum wage. We will be here protesting tomorrow."
Main contractors, Whessoe Oil and Gas Ltd, have declined to comment on the dispute.
2:06pm Monday 21st January 2008